Mercedes concedes it got F1 Dutch GP strategy wrong

Mercedes has admitted it got its strategy wrong in the fight with Red Bull at Formula 1’s Dutch Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen took a dominant home win.

Mercedes concedes it got F1 Dutch GP strategy wrong

Verstappen held track advantage from the start and, although Lewis Hamilton was able to keep in contact with his title rival, there was no chance of being able to pass on track.

The only possibility Hamilton had was in trying to undercut Verstappen by pitting first, and by Mercedes making use of Valtteri Botttas on an alternative strategy.

Bottas tried to make a one-stop work but could not keep his tyres alive long enough, so fell away from contention to trouble Verstappen.

And Hamilton never got close to an opportunity to get past Verstappen, with a final roll of the dice at a second stop being wasted by him returning to the track in the middle of lapped traffic.

Hamilton’s plight was then made even worse by Verstappen being moved on to the more durable hard tyre, which meant there was no chance of him being forced to make a third stop.

Speaking to Sky, Wolff conceded that Red Bull simply had the fastest car at Zandvoort – and the team did not get the timing of that second stop right.

“We had, I think, a sniff of an undercut there,” said Wolff.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“[But] we didn't time it right. I mean, at the end, you're always more clever.

“We didn't expect them [Red Bull] to go on the hard tyre because it was an unknown. We didn't drive the hard tyre on the Friday, and we thought we might be pushing them early with the soft. But it is what it is.”

Wolff said that Mercedes steered clear of trying to go for a one-stop with Hamilton early on because it was nervous about the life of the hard.

“I think the hard tyre was a bit of a gamble,” he explained. “You could have seen that on the Ferraris that it was going well, but it was unknown territory because none of us had really run it. We didn't run it at least.”

There was late race drama for Mercedes as it battled to ensure Hamilton secured an extra point for fastest lap, with Valtteri Bottas having taken it late on when he was switched on to the softs.

Although Bottas’ effort came despite a message from the pitwall urging him to abort the lap, Wolff said there was not a problem with what the Finn did.

“He was backing off,” added Wolff. “I think we just wanted to make sure that it was not happening. That's why we re-emphasised politely on the lap and then he backed off.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Dutch GP: Verstappen takes home win and regains championship lead
Previous article

F1 Dutch GP: Verstappen takes home win and regains championship lead

Next article

Bottas' F1 Dutch GP fastest lap attempt "cheeky but understandable"

Bottas' F1 Dutch GP fastest lap attempt "cheeky but understandable"
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022